7 Reasons to Visit Tel Aviv

Pilgrims have been visiting the Holy Land for centuries as Jerusalem is holy to the three major monotheistic religions. Modern day tourists may prefer an extended stopover in Tel Aviv, Israel’s city that never sleeps. This bustling metropolis is at Israel’s cultural heart and its secular nature is a striking contrast to the more conservative and religious atmosphere that marks Jerusalem. Admittedly, Tel Aviv is not the cheapest tourist destination in the world but you don’t have to be uber-rich or win the US Powerball lottery to be able to enjoy the city. There are multiple reasons to visit Tel Aviv but here is a list of the top seven.

The beaches. Tel Aviv’s western edge is the Mediterranean and you can enjoy the sea on the city’s 14 kilometers of beaches, stretching from the Tel Aviv Port in the north to Jaffa in the south. Lifeguards are on duty during the official bathing season from April to October. Walks on the promenade at sunset are particularly attractive at all times of the year. Some of the beaches are devoted to different segments of the population including a segregated beach suitable for religious bathers; a gay-friendly beach; a dog-friendly beach; and beaches suitable for surfing, swimming, sunning, and people-watching.

The food. If you want to really know a city, go to its markets. Tel Aviv is no exception and a visit to the open-air Carmel Market will give you a taste of what’s on offer. Tel Aviv has an eclectic cuisine that includes Middle Eastern staples, fresh seafood straight from the Mediterranean, and cultural specialties. There are plenty of gourmet restaurants as well as fast food falafel stands. You won’t go hungry when you visit Tel Aviv.

The nightlife. The city that never sleeps has more bars and nightclubs than the average tourist can visit on a short holiday. Tel Aviv has an active party scene with top-notch DJs. Tel Aviv Port is a hub for restaurants, bars, and gazing at the Mediterranean waves, while Rothschild Boulevard is a great place for strolling with the crowds. Museums and galleries are open all night long on the annual White Night celebration. There’s plenty to see and do at all hours of the day and night.

The openness. Tel Aviv has been declared the world’s best gay friendly travel destination and the annual week-long Gay Pride festivities attract visitors from all over the world. Tel Aviv welcomes people from every gender, religion, and color on its streets and the LGBT community is an integral part of the city’s multicultural diversity.

The history. Tel Aviv is actually a very new city as it was founded in 1909. It was built on the sand dunes on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa. The two cities merged into a single municipality in 1950 but even today, Jaffa retains much of its historic charm. Ancient Jaffa is associated with the Biblical stories of Jonah, King Solomon, and Saint Peter, and it is at the southern end of the Tel Aviv beachfront. Another popular tourist destination is Hatachana, the old train station on the Jaffa-Jerusalem line that has been transformed into a restaurant and shopping compound.

The weather. Visit Tel Aviv at any time of the year. There are rainy days in the winter months but the temperatures are much warmer than those in Jerusalem. During heat waves the opposite can be true, when Tel Aviv is cooled by breezes coming from the Mediterranean while hilly Jerusalem is quite unbearable. Humidity is high in the Tel Aviv summer but then you can always head to the beach and cool off in the sea.

The people. You’ll find Israelis of every religion, ethnicity, and color walking the streets of Tel Aviv. Part of this is because Israel is a nation of immigrants – people who have gravitated to the Jewish State from all over the world. When you visit Tel Aviv you will be greeted by the openness of warm and welcoming people.

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